What relationship do you have with your family? Fractured, strong, tenuous, loving, complicated…. Family, however you choose to define it presents us with challenges everyday–a microcosm of relationships that gives us opportunities to learn how to share, lead, follow, parent, love unconditionally, teach and compromise. At WUUC we choose to define family broadly to encompass anyone living in a loving relationship. We recognize above all that what makes a family is LOVE, even when there is dislike.
I come from an average size family, but grew up with strong relationships with cousins, aunts and uncles. This made it feel like I had a huge family at times and created lots of opportunities to learn how to live in a large system where tension exists, people are rigid, feelings get hurt and needs aren’t always met. Kinda reminds me of church sometimes, but I don’t like calling ourselves a church “family”, and here is why. A family is a place where you can be your full self, do things that outsiders might never forgive you for, try out new ways of being, all the while expecting unconditional love. There are things that I have done in my family that would never be tolerated in a community setting. And while I hope you bring your full self to church, everyone is expected to learn the ways of being in the community that keep it whole. What makes a Unitarian Universalist church is COVENANT. Our covenant with each other allows us live into our first, second and third principles fully, remembering to honor inherent worth, practice compassion in our relations and accept each other as we are.
The hymn “Let it be a Dance” reminds me of both family and community. It reminds us that we are all in this together, good and bad. That we share the laughter and the pain. That life continues as we are in relationship together. While we can’t choose our birth family, we can make choices about who we share our lives with in covenanted community. No matter the size of your family, you are part of a larger community and the love and compassion that you learn and practice at home, can be brought to our church and expanded to encompass the entire world. Let us remember to lead and follow, to bend and sway. Let it be a dance we do. May I have this dance with you?